A few weeks ago I heard this story on NPR about how the USPS lets people come and open letters to Santa they receive at Christmas so people can choose to fulfill children's wishes. The program has been going on for over 20 years apparently, and they interviewed one man who had participated for almost that long.
He noted the change in children's requests over the years. When he first said that, I thought "Oh, kids are probably asking for more and more high dollar, high tech toys now", but instead he commented on how often now children are asking for the necessities of life, such as clothes, shoes, coats, and school supplies.
It really broke my heart. Christmas is a great time to be a kid, and they shouldn't have to ask Santa for the things that they need day to day. The whole world is telling them all the toys they should want and all they're asking for is what they shouldn't have to ask for, anyway.
Some friends at church offered to financially sponsor a child if someone else could shop for them, as they don't have time. So I volunteered, as I am in an opposite situation- little money, plenty of time. :) They let me pick the child out and I chose a six year old kid who only asked for a coat and shoes. And so I will pick out those things, but also something that will hopefully make his eyes light up and let him feel like a kid who can just enjoy this special season.
It's been a tough year economically for our country and has especially hit those with little financial room to spare. If you can, consider finding an angel tree program or something similar and find a kid asking for just what they need to get buy, and give them even more than they're hoping for.
*Image from www.postsecret.com